Red wine: A beginner’s guide

If you are new to wine, asking for your opinion on red wines can feel like a quiz. You will learn to love wine, just like coffee. When you’re not sure what to look for, finding the perfect bottle for your taste buds is intimidating–especially with wine snobs tossing around fancy vino lingo like “varietals” and “tannins.”

This jargon should not deter you from enjoying the unique experience of tasting fine red wines. All of us started as novices. It’s only a matter of doing some research to learn the basics. We’ve compiled everything you need about red wine to help you get started.

We’re confident that you will be ready to open corks at your next dinner party and share our knowledge with you about red wine.

Basics of Winemaking

Today, red wine is made the same way it was made over 6,000 years ago. Red wine is made from grape skins that have been crushed and fermented.

Wineries have improved storage units, presses, tools, and cellars, which has helped red wine production. However, it is still relatively easy. Red wine production only requires grapes, yeast, and sometimes a preservative such as sulfur dioxide.

Red wine terms to understand

Most people view processing wine lingo as the equivalent of learning a second language. Most people want to enjoy wine and not need a translator. It’s easy to understand the basics of wine terminology, which will help you identify the wine types you love. You’ll also be more informed when it comes time to buy wine.


A varietal refers to a wine that is made from one grape variety. The most well-known varietals include Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. However, there are more than 10,000 varieties. You might also want to consider Carmenere and Barbera when shopping for wine. They are delicious and can be very valuable.

Body type

The wine’s body is the amount of wine you feel in your mouth. Depending on your preferences, you may prefer a lighter, medium, or full-bodied wine. These terms can help you decide whether you are at a restaurant, liquor store, or both.

Dry (a.k.a. Not sweet

Dry is a term that describes the taste of certain wines. It simply means that the wine isn’t sweet. Most people use three terms to describe wine’s sweetness: dry, sweet, or off-dry. Most wines that don’t come in a box or have had some chocolate or fruit flavors added are dry.

Red wine types

Red wine might be something you are considering drinking for its health benefits, such as its keto-friendliness and antioxidants. You might also love roses and want to make red wine your favorite color. No matter what your reasons are, many red wine drinkers have trouble choosing the right red wine. Sometimes it can be difficult to choose red wine because there are so many options. We believe the most popular red wines for beginners include Zinfandel and Petite SirahNero d’Avola and Merlot are also crowd-pleasers. All of these wines are fruit-forward and have smooth endings. We also have other options for you based on your body type.

Light-bodied red wine

If you want to switch from Team White to Team Red, you may also want to start with lighter-bodied red wines. These reds are refreshing and light and pair well with many different foods.

Medium-bodied red wine

Red wines with medium-bodied flavors are the ideal combination of bold and light flavors. These reds have slightly more tannins than lighter-bodied reds but don’t overpower with intense flavors.

Red wine with full-bodied aromas

Full-bodied reds are the most tannic and have the highest alcohol content of all three types. Full-bodied reds are bolder tasting and have a heavier feel on the palate.

How do you taste red wine?

It’s important to consider the wine quality when wine-tasting with friends or family. Your senses can be used to evaluate wines from poor to excellent quality. You can also assign points to different aspects of wine to be graded on a scale like James Suckling’s 100-point scale. No matter what scale you use, it is important to keep track of your tasting notes so that you can recall which wines you enjoyed and which ones you didn’t like.

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